Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where we shine a light on fights from across the globe that may have been overlooked in these hectic times where it seems like there’s an MMA show every other day.
After a magical departure into the absolutely delicious CamSoda Fight Circus - an event that somehow represented the past, present, future, and alternate timelines of MMA all at once - we return to the rather mundane world of spectacular knockouts, mind-bending submissions, and general combat sports weirdness.
So sadly, we must leave Bangkok and... actually, we’re going to be heading back to Bangkok in a minute. But first, a quick stop in Cameroon for a titanic heavyweight contest featuring (checks notes) FRANCIS NGANNOU???
Francis Ngannou vs. Hoga
JM: Fight Circus was the definition of must-see (NSFW) TV, but you know what else needs to be seen? Francis Ngannou’s life-and-death struggle with Hoga. I gotta be honest, I’m not sure Ngannou is ready for Stipe Miocic after this hard fought battle.
AL: For those of you wondering What the Heck is going on here (so pretty much everyone, I imagine), Hoga is a famous comedian from Ngannou’s native Cameroon and the two teamed up for a charity match benefiting the Francis Ngannou Foundation.
The UFC’s No. 1 heavyweight contender definitely got more than he bargained for here, but I’m of the opposite assessment. Ngannou had to dig deep into his bag of tricks and show off never-before-seen aspects of his game to outwork the mighty Hoga.
JM: True, he did have to go to his grappling game which could be good preparation for a rematch; however, he also revealed a weakness to leg kicks, which Stipe is now going to look to exploit.
My favorite part of all of this, aside from the very wholesome nature of it, is that Hoga was also wearing Ngannou fight trunks. It’s my great hope that UFC fighters will start a new tradition of exchanging fight trunks in the cage after fights, a la soccer players and jerseys.
JM: That being said, this was functionally Francis’ demo reel for when Vince McMahon inevitably comes calling so aside from doing good, charitable work, it also set him up to make a killing with the WWE later in life. Ngannou is doing nothing but winning lately.
Kulabdam vs. Sangmanee
Sok Thy vs. Ding Huang
AL: We’ve got a couple of weeks of highlights to catch up on, so let’s start with the ONE Championship cards in Bangkok from the past two Fridays, which had a heavy emphasis on muay Thai and kickboxing.
We begin on the highest of notes with this scintillating string of punches by Kulabdam.
Kulabdam punches his ticket to the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament finals with a shocking first-round knockout of Thai superstar Sangmanee! #NoSurrender3 #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/NxXpmbeQNl— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) August 21, 2020
Jorge Masvidal’s three-piece-and-a-soda has nothing on this combo.
JM: Man, that’s almost as good as Fight Circus. I’m sorry, I just can’t let go of the majesty. Best event of the year by far (unless UFC 254 can somehow stay intact).
But fine. I’ll grudgingly do my best to move on and in so doing, I can admit that this was a spectacular combo for everyone involved but poor Sangmanee who was left staring up at the lights.
AL: As great as that finish was, one week later Sok Thy did his best to top it by straight caving a dude’s chest in.
JM: Did he break that guy’s sternum? I had to watch the clip a half-dozen times to even register what happened. I think that’s the first KO (chest punch) I’ve ever seen.
AL: It’s possible. Just knuckles right to the bone. Yikes.
Sergey Kalinin vs. Sergey Romanov
Hovhannes Voskanyan vs. Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov
Vyacheslav Svischev vs. Bektursun Israil Uulu
From Gorilla Fighting Championship 27 in Almetyevsk, Russia (also available for free on YouTube), we have another collection of wicked finishes. The main event looked to be one of many mismatches that we’ve seen booked during the COVID-19 of sports, but I guess Sergey Kalinin (6-1 now) didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to be the B-side of this squash match.
JM: That was just bad planning for Mr. Romanov. He’s in a firefight against the fence and drops his hands at exactly the wrong time. He basically gave Kalinin a free shot at it and that’s all it took. Gotta love it, especially the KO tumble.
AL: Definite front-runner for this week’s Humpty Dumpty award.
Kalinin was coming off of his first loss and only in this fight because Sergey Romanov’s opponent couldn’t make the trip. Now he’s the GFC middleweight champion.
Hovhannes Voskanyan’s fight didn’t have quite the same stakes, but bless his heart he threw like he was trailing on the scorecards in round five of a UFC title bout.
Straight firing from the hip to great success.
JM: Look, the KO is good, I’m not here to dispute that. But I can’t help but think about the inside foot sweep instead. I love that technique as a way to off balance opponents. Sure, it ended up leading to him getting KTFO, but still, I’m a fan.
AL: People focus too much on the results and not the process.
That actually segues nicely into this next knockout, which saw Bektursun Israil Uulu reasonably thinking that his headhunting would get the better of Vyacheslav Svischev’s body work.
Wrong. Dead wrong.
JM: Having never been KO’d by a body shot (major humble brag) how long do you think it takes to recover? Is it one of those things where 30 minutes later you’re okay or something that hurts for days afterwards. I’m gonna say the latter, at least based on Uulu’s reaction there.
AL: Physically, probably a few days; mentally, a lifetime.
Andi Vrtacic vs. Dorde Bukvic
Dani Barbir vs. Ilija Brkan
Jakob Kosic vs. Rifat Prusevic
Ivan Bilic vs. Luka Cvetkovic
AL: In the latest example of TUF NEVER DIE, Croatia’s Fight Nation Championship is currently holding an Ultimate Fighter-style tournament with pros competing in exhibition bouts for what I hope is a significant monetary prize.
Brutal spinning backfist KO from Andi Vrtacic at Armagedon event. pic.twitter.com/HrNxVt1cRC— Special CombatSport (@SCombatsport) August 22, 2020
Because otherwise Dorde Bukvic here ate this Andi Vrtacic spinning backfist for nothing.
JM: As they say, life is a game of inches and never is that more appropriate then here, where Bukvic was centimeters away from avoiding this backfist. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and instead, Bukvic is now in the shadow realm. Godspeed.
AL: And then there was this haymaker by Dani Barbir.
Knockout from Dani Barbir. pic.twitter.com/xKYPyUNwEz— Special CombatSport (@SCombatsport) August 22, 2020
You gotta walk that one off!
JM: Jesus. That’s the KO of the week (two weeks?) right there. Homie was in full downward dog position.
AL: I doubt the forced yoga pose provided him much spiritual comfort.
“Armagedon” might be the best possible name for this tournament because guys were getting ended. Just check out these KOs from Jakob Kosic and Ivan Bilic from week two.
Oh God! What a KO from Jakob Kosic on Armagedon. That was brutal! pic.twitter.com/yw1rfL6d7d— Special CombatSport (@SCombatsport) August 29, 2020
Brutal KO from Ivan Bilic on Armagedon against Luka Cvetkovic. He slept him with Douglas Lima uppercut. pic.twitter.com/7zw8kWkUKE— Special CombatSport (@SCombatsport) August 29, 2020
Kosic literally chased Rifat Prusevic, and Bilic didn’t settle for the usual flurry of straight punches to finish a crumbling opponent. No, he loaded up that uppercut and took all the glory.
JM: I’m a big fan of that Douglas Lima uppercut KO. Right on the button and all that poor man wanted to do was stand up! Now, he rests.
Yuri Kiselov vs. Timur Magdiev
AL: As much as I love Armagedon, the best event name from the past couple of weeks (besides Fight Circus, obviously) has to be MMA Festival: 75th Anniversary of the Great Victory. It’s a name that reeks of classic Cold War propaganda.
It’s in Rostov on Don, Russia, that we uncover Yuri Kiselov.
When I saw this clip, I thought for sure it was the unorthodox Kiselov who was getting KO’d. But there’s no beating that swagger. How have I never heard of “Playboy” Kiselov before?
JM: Because he’s 44 years old. Also, not to bag on him too much because those splits were dope, but he beat a 52-year-old man who, prior to this bout was 1-1 in MMA, with his lone win coming by way of Exhaustion. How does one lose by Exhaustion to a 52-year-old, you may wonder? Well, you don’t. Both of Timur Magdiev’s other two fights HAPPENED IN THE YEAR 2000! That is a pretty long hiatus from the game so there may have been some ring rust at play.
AL: Don’t let Dominick Cruz hear you say that.
Luis Felipe Dias vs. Vanilton Antunes
Jose Heraldo Souza vs. Caio Fernandes
At Shooto Brasil 100 (parabens!) in Rio de Janeiro, Luis Felipe Dias provides us with our lone featured submission of the week and it is a doozy.
Man just got turned into a knot in the Shooto main event. Reverse triangle + Suloev stretch.— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) August 24, 2020
Felipe Dias def. Vanilto Antunes via sub R1. New Shooto WW champ. #ShootoBrazil100 pic.twitter.com/cg6kB65xo8
Luis Felipe Dias had Vanilton Antunes in all kinds of trouble here. You want to break this one down for us, professor?
JM: This reminds me of the most honest piece of advice I may have ever been given. One time I asked my BJJ coach (a former UFC fighter and decorated grappler) how to escape from a reverse triangle and he looked me square in the face and said “You’re fu**ed. You shouldn’t have let that happen in the first place.”
Vaniltonn Antunes was fu**ed from the jump. He should’ve never let it get to that place.
AL: That’s some textbook grappling advice. Now here’s Caio Fernandes giving us a textbook example of how NOT to put up your dukes when you have a slugger like Jose Heraldo Souza coming at you.
If anything, he kind of created a frame for Souza to punch through.
JM: This isn’t boxing, my guy. High guard don’t work in MMA.
AL: Did someone say boxing?
Alexander Povetkin vs. Dillian Whyte
Magomed Kurbanov vs. Ilya Ochkin
Kevin Johnson vs. Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Elvis Rodriguez vs. Cody Wilson
In all likelihood, our readers did not miss this scintillating uppercut from Alexander Povetkin, which took place at a Matchroom Boxing show in Essex, U.K.
Povetkin and Dillian Whyte might be a little past their best before date, but these heavyweights can still bring it when they’re on.
JM: That was really a sensational comeback win there. Boxing remains awesome and more MMA fans should love it.
AL: How can they love a sport that they’ve been declaring dead for 15 years?
At an RCC boxing show in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Magomed Kurbanov got all of this right hook.
All of it.
JM: And that right there is the benefit of the Philly shell, slip and counter with deadly results.
AL: In Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, veteran heavyweights Kevin Johnson and Yoan Pablo Hernandez brought the noise to an SES Sports show.
Kevin 'Kingpin' Johnson just marched down Yoan Pablo Hernandez over 8 rounds, was aggressive, let his hands go, was in a thoroughly entertaining fight and provided a spectacular last round stoppage. All of that is true, I promise. pic.twitter.com/oXowMGz5Zv— Beadybea (@Beadybea) August 22, 2020
With respect, that sh*t ain’t boxing. That’s MMA striking, I know it when I see it!
JM: Well, one of those people is doing MMA striking and the other is boxing. I’ll let you guess as to who is who.
AL: And if you thought we weren’t going to include the latest from Freddie Roach-coached Elvis Rodriguez, you are sorely mistaken.
The 24-year-old Dominican junior welterweight has been clowning dudes all summer (see also: Murray, Danny, and Okoth, Dennis) and he added to the highlight package at a Top Ranking Boxing show in Las Vegas with this punch-out of Cody Wilson.
JM: Cody Wilson’s corner should’ve thrown in the towel the moment he threw that jab and missed by about three feet. There was nothing else that needed to be seen after that.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Francis Ngannou vs. Cameroon comic
Kulabdam serves up a KO combo
Sergey Kalinin upsets Sergey Romanov
Luis Felipe Dias twists up Vanilton Antunes
Alexander Povetkin’s dynamite upper
Other (leave comment below)
If you know of a recent fight or event that you think may have been overlooked, or a promotion that could use some attention, please let us know on Twitter – @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee – using the hashtag #MissedFists.